According to a myth in many cultures, cats have multiple lives. In many countries, they are believed to have nine lives, but in Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil and some Spanish-speaking regions, they are said to have seven lives,[279][280] while in Turkish and Arabic traditions, the number of lives is six.[281] The myth is attributed to the natural suppleness and swiftness cats exhibit to escape life-threatening situations. Also lending credence to this myth is the fact that falling cats often land on their feet, using an instinctive righting reflex to twist their bodies around. Nonetheless, cats can still be injured or killed by a high fall.[282]

Following the closure of the original West End production, a nationwide tour embarked in 2003 with Chrissie Hammond starring as Grizabella,[146][147] until Dianne Pilkington took over the role in 2006.[148] Hammond reprised the role on tour again from 2007 to 2008.[149][150] A UK tour of Cats launched in February 2013 at the Edinburgh Playhouse with Joanna Ampil as Grizabella,[151][152] running through 2014 before transferring to the West End.[153] In between its limited West End runs, the musical returned to the Blackpool Opera House Theatre in 2015, this time starring Jane McDonald as Grizabella.[154][155] After the second West End revival, the production toured the UK in 2016 with Anita Louise Combe as Grizabella and Marcquelle Ward as Rum Tum Tugger.[156][157]


Thomas Deeny is a graphic designer who specializes in book layout and game design. His layout work can be found in roleplaying games like John Wick Presents' 7th Sea, Atlas Games' Unknown Armies and Over the Edge, MCDM Production's Strongholds and Followers, and Modiphius Entertainment’s Star Trek Adventures. He lives in a house in the middle of a spooky forest at the edge of civilization.
Cats premiered in the West End at the New London Theatre on 11 May 1981. The musical was produced by Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, with direction by Nunn, choreography by Lynne (who also served as the associate director), set and costume design by Napier, lighting design by David Hersey, sound design by Abe Jacob and music direction by Harry Rabinowitz.[98] It played a total of 8,949 performances before closing on its 21st anniversary, 11 May 2002. The final performance was broadcast live on a large outdoor screen in Covent Garden for fans who could not acquire a ticket.[99] Cats held the record as London's longest-running musical from 1989, when it surpassed Jesus Christ Superstar,[100] until 8 October 2006, when it was surpassed by Les Misérables.
In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals, with the goddess Bast often depicted in cat form, sometimes taking on the war-like aspect of a lioness.[265]:220 Killing a cat was absolutely forbidden[4] and the Greek historian Herodotus reports that, whenever a household cat died, the entire family would mourn and shave their eyebrows.[4] Families took their dead cats to the sacred city of Bubastis,[4] where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories.[4] The earliest unmistakable evidence of the Greeks having domestic cats comes from two coins from Magna Graecia dating to the mid-fifth century BC showing Iokastos and Phalanthos, the legendary founders of Rhegion and Taras respectively, playing with their pet cats.[266]:57–58[267]
Here in eight lines Eliot was describing an intensely recognizable character with powerful human resonances, while introducing the themes of mortality, and the past, which occur repeatedly in the major poems. We decided that if Eliot had thought of being serious, touching, almost tragic in his presentation of a feline character, then we had to be doing a show which could contain that material, and the implications of it. Furthermore, we would have to achieve the sense of progression through themes more than incidents.[17]

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a collection of light poetry about cats that Eliot had originally written for his godchildren in the 1930s. Due to the rhythmic nature of Eliot's work, there had been previous attempts before Cats at setting his poems to music, though none of these attempts had been met with much critical or commercial success.[6] Musicologist John Snelson wrote of the poems:
The show was staged at the Det Ny Teater in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the 2002–2003 season.[201] This Danish production was translated by Adam Price and was one of the largest theatrical productions ever mounted in the country at the time with 100 performers, musicians and stagehands.[202] The first non-replica production of Cats was approved for a Polish production at the Teatr Muzyczny Roma in Warsaw.[203] Set in an abandoned film studio instead of a junkyard, the Polish version opened in January 2004 and closed in 2010.[204][205][206] The Gothenburg opera house staged a production with a Swedish-language script by Ingela Forsman; this version was reimagined to take place in an abandoned fairground and played from September 2006 to February 2007.[207] Other productions were also staged at the Divadlo Milenium in Prague from 2004 to 2005,[188] and a Norwegian revival at the Chat Noir in Oslo in 2009.[208] The first Italian-language production toured Italy in the 2009–2010 season.[209]
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Although wildcats are solitary, the social behavior of domestic cats is much more variable and ranges from widely dispersed individuals to feral cat colonies that gather around a food source, based on groups of co-operating females.[130][131] Within such groups, one cat is usually dominant over the others.[132] Each cat in a colony holds a distinct territory, with sexually active males having the largest territories, which are about 10 times larger than those of female cats and may overlap with several females' territories.[87] These territories are marked by urine spraying, by rubbing objects at head height with secretions from facial glands, and by defecation.[87] Between these territories are neutral areas where cats watch and greet one another without territorial conflicts. Outside these neutral areas, territory holders usually chase away stranger cats, at first by staring, hissing, and growling and, if that does not work, by short but noisy and violent attacks. Despite some cats cohabiting in colonies, they do not have a social survival strategy, or a pack mentality and always hunt alone.[133]

Even in places with ancient and numerous cat populations, such as Western Europe, cats appear to be growing in number and independently of their environments' carrying capacity (such as the numbers of prey available).[217][218] This may be explained, at least in part, by an abundance of food, from sources including feeding by pet owners and scavenging. For instance, research in Britain suggests that a high proportion of cats hunt only "recreationally",[218] and in South Sweden, where research in 1982 found that the population density of cats was as high as 2,000 per square kilometre (5,200/sq mi).[217]
Cats redefined musical theatre in the German-speaking part of the world, turning an industry which then consisted of repertory theatre towards privately-funded big-budget open-ended productions. The success of the Vienna and Hamburg productions sparked a "musical boom" in the region that saw numerous musicals being launched not just in Germany but also in countries like Switzerland.[173][180] It also led to a "construction boom" in Germany as new theatrical venues were enacted all around the country.[181] Germany has since grown to become the third largest musical market after the US and UK, with Hamburg as its "musical capital".[173][180]
Practical Cats, as the show was then called, was first presented as a song cycle at the 1980 summer Sydmonton Festival. The concert was performed by Gemma Craven, Gary Bond and Paul Nicholas. Eliot's widow and literary executor, Valerie, was in attendance and brought along various unpublished cat-themed poems by Eliot. One of these was "Grizabella the Glamour Cat" which, although rejected from Eliot's book for being "too sad for children", gave Lloyd Webber the idea for a full-blown musical.[10] He explained:

About 250 heritable genetic disorders have been identified in cats, many similar to human inborn errors.[286] The high level of similarity among the metabolism of mammals allows many of these feline diseases to be diagnosed using genetic tests that were originally developed for use in humans, as well as the use of cats as animal models in the study of the human diseases.[287][288]


Then, as Rum Tum Tugger's song fades, a shabby old grey cat stumbles out wanting to be reconciled; it is Grizabella. All the cats back away from her in fear and disgust and explain her unfortunate state ("Grizabella: The Glamour Cat"). Grizabella leaves and the music changes to a cheerful upbeat number as Bustopher Jones, a fat cat in "a coat of fastidious black", is brought to the stage ("Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town"). Bustopher Jones is among the elite of the cats, and visits prestigious gentlemen's clubs. Suddenly, a loud crash startles the tribe and the cats run offstage in fright. Hushed giggling sounds signal the entrance of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, a pair of near-identical cats. They are mischievous petty burglars who enjoy causing trouble around their human neighbourhood ("Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer"). After they finish, they are caught off-guard and confronted by the rest of the cats.
Fully domestic Abyssinian American Curl American Shorthair Balinese Brazilian Shorthair British Shorthair Birman Bombay Burmese Burmilla California Spangled Chartreux Chinese Li Hua Colorpoint Shorthair Cornish Rex Cymric Devon Rex Donskoy Egyptian Mau European Shorthair Exotic Shorthair German Rex Himalayan Japanese Bobtail Javanese Khao Manee Korat Kurilian Bobtail Lykoi Maine Coon Manx Munchkin Norwegian Forest Ocicat Ojos Azules Oriental Shorthair Persian Peterbald Pixie-bob Raas Ragdoll Ragamuffin Russian Blue Scottish Fold Selkirk Rex Siamese Siberian Singapura Snowshoe Somali Sphynx Thai Traditional Persian Tonkinese Toyger Turkish Angora Turkish Van
The domestic cat's ability to thrive in almost any terrestrial habitat has led to its designation as one of the world's most invasive species.[203] As it is little altered from the wildcat, it can readily interbreed with the wildcat. This hybridization poses a danger to the genetic distinctiveness of some wildcat populations, particularly in Scotland and Hungary and possibly also the Iberian Peninsula.[56]

Cats conserve energy by sleeping more than most animals, especially as they grow older. The daily duration of sleep varies, usually between 12 and 16 hours, with 13 and 14 being the average. Some cats can sleep as much as 20 hours. The term "cat nap" for a short rest refers to the cat's tendency to fall asleep (lightly) for a brief period. While asleep, cats experience short periods of rapid eye movement sleep often accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests they are dreaming.[129]

In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals, with the goddess Bast often depicted in cat form, sometimes taking on the war-like aspect of a lioness.[265]:220 Killing a cat was absolutely forbidden[4] and the Greek historian Herodotus reports that, whenever a household cat died, the entire family would mourn and shave their eyebrows.[4] Families took their dead cats to the sacred city of Bubastis,[4] where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories.[4] The earliest unmistakable evidence of the Greeks having domestic cats comes from two coins from Magna Graecia dating to the mid-fifth century BC showing Iokastos and Phalanthos, the legendary founders of Rhegion and Taras respectively, playing with their pet cats.[266]:57–58[267]
^ Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News. Special Issue 11: 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
Cats can synthesize niacin, but their breakdown exceeds the rate that it can be synthesized and thus, have a higher need for it, which can be fulfilled through an animal-based diet.[24] Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is required in increased amounts seeing as it is needed to produce amino acids.[24] To continue, vitamin B12 is an AAFCO-recommended vitamin essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein and maintains a healthy nervous system, healthy mucous membranes, healthy muscle and heart function and in general, promotes normal growth and development.[42] Choline is also a AAFCO recommended ingredient for kittens, which is important for neurotransmission in the brain and as a component of membrane phospholipids.[24] Biotin is another AAFCO-recommended vitamin to support thyroid and adrenal glands and the reproductive and nervous systems.[24] Kittens also require riboflavin (vitamin B2) for heart health, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and folacin.[42]
Cats are ready to go to new homes at about 12 weeks of age, when they are ready to leave their mother.[184] They can be surgically sterilized (spayed or castrated) as early as 7 weeks to limit unwanted reproduction.[185] This surgery also prevents undesirable sex-related behavior, such as aggression, territory marking (spraying urine) in males and yowling (calling) in females. Traditionally, this surgery was performed at around six to nine months of age, but it is increasingly being performed before puberty, at about three to six months.[186] In the US, about 80% of household cats are neutered.[187]

Domestic cats are generally smaller than wildcats in both skull and limb measurements.[58] Adult domestic cats typically weigh between 4 and 5 kg (9 and 10 lb),[48] although many breeds have a wide range of sizes, with male American Shorthairs ranging from 3 to 7 kg (7 to 20 lb).[59] Some cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon, occasionally exceed 11 kg (24 lb). Very small cats, less than 2 kg (4 lb), have been reported.[60] The world record for the largest cat is 21 kg (50 lb).[61][self-published source] The smallest adult cat ever officially recorded weighed around 1 kg (2 lb).[61] Feral cats tend to be lighter, as they have more limited access to food than house cats. The average feral adult male weighs 4 kg (9 lb), and the average adult female 3 kg (7 lb).[62] Cats average about 23–25 cm (9–10 in) in height and 46 cm (18 in) in head/body length (males being larger than females), with tails averaging 30 cm (12 in) in length.[63]
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